Louise Nichol – Workshop

Louise Nichol - Lino Printing on Fabric

Louise first introduced herself as a textile artist and she doesn’t class herself as a printmaker.

She talked us through the process which we would be going through on this one day workshop. Today is all about getting the fabric printed with a design that then can be embellished, appliqued, or embroidered to our own unique style to produce an item that can either be used for fashion, accessories or fine art.

She uses a singular lino  block with one colourway print or on a rare occasion a multiblock print of more than one colour combination .

When choosing a design Louise advised that not too much detail is the key to being able to add future applique, embellishments etc,  so that we are not constricted by fine detail on the fabric or which would be lost if we were to cover up inadvertently  e.g.  less area for further enhancements with thread, appliqued fabrics etc. 

We measured out a design roughly 6 inch square or similar area in a rectangle as this would be a suitable amount to carve and print in the time available. 


We then proceeded to carve out the design which was fairly successful on the softcut lino Louise provided – (softer and easier to carve than traditional lino) before making sure that any lines were not too finely carved together as when you print onto fabric sometimes the ink can be transferred to the carved out lines if not thick enough and therefore losing the detail of the print.  

Once carving was complete after lunch Louise advised about suitable fabrics to print upon. 

Closely woven fabrics would take the print well but you need to remember that it is sometimes harder to put a needle through a tightly woven fabric and the addition of printed ink on top of the fabric can make sewing harder still. So a smooth finished fabric such as linen with a looser weave would be ideal or similar cotton fabrics. 


With regards to which ink to use for printing our fabric it really depended upon whether we would be intending to wash the item after completed. Louise brought 2 different fabric block printing inks with her, a watercolour one which is light fast and suitable for fine art pieces which do not require washing (in fact if you were to wash would be ruined as the ink would be removed) or a Speedball fabric ink which was oil based, which takes longer to dry and needs fixing with an iron (and a piece of parchment paper to protect the iron) but once fixed can be safely washed so is suitable for fashion items. 


We spent the rest of the afternoon experimenting with the different inks in a variety of colour ways on a selection of fabrics. 

Louise then advised that to finish off the item , you would back the item with either a lightweight fusible interfacing or a bondaweb sheet and depending upon your use, a lightweight wadding etc before embroidering or appliqueing the item. 


Report and photos by Claire T.

Thank you Claire, Ros

Anne Hellyer – “Set the Town Alight” workshop – November 2019


A few years ago I saw Anne Hellyer’s work displayed at the West of England Quilting and Textile Show at the UWE (University of the West of England) in Bristol so when I had the opportunity to go on a two day workshop I was keen to put my name down.  

​Anne’s distinctive “Painting the Town” designs incorporate hand painted textiles and free machine embroidery.
We started the day by choosing a design, winter townscape, snowy townscape or an individual choice.   The hand painted fabric is ironed onto a background and then starts the fun of adding the doors, windows, plants and trees.  Finally a backing is added and ribbons to enable you stand your finished work up with a night light in the centre.   
Anne was extremely generous sharing her ideas and techniques and the two days of stitch, stitch, stitching went so quickly.   The end results were so individual with each person choosing different coloured fabrics and adding their own special ideas including Rosemary’s super black cat. 
Thank you Anne for a great workshop.

Anne’s kits can be bought on her website:   http://www.paintingthetown.org.uk/
Please note – all the designs are Anne’s copyright

Report and photos by Ros

Jennifer Hughes workshop – September 2019

The day after Jennifer’s talk to the branch she kindly led a workshop entitled “Inspired by Chinese Ethnic Embroidery”.  This was a hand stitch workshop using folded pieces of fabric which were stitched into the form of a bird, fish or animal.

To start the day Jennifer showed us some samples which she and her friends had worked especially for this workshop.

Jennifer had also prepared outline shapes to act as a guide for our design.  
During the day Jennifer demonstrated a number of different stitches which were included on the traditional Chinese embroidery – pulling stitch, various forms of chain stitch and she showed us how to make a flat braid which was often used to outline the design.
We left at the end of the day with some lovely samples, well under way and knowledge of some great stitches which were new to a number of us.
Thank you Jennifer for a most enjoyable day.

Report by Ros
​Photos by Ros and Jennifer

Jenny Adin-Christie – Workshop June 2019


Our day started with a demonstration from Jenny on how working herringbone stitch on the back of white organza could produce some wonderful effects. The group had a choice of three designs which had been drawn on the organza by Jenny prior to the workshop. The choices were a rose, a violet or a monogram. 

Once everyone was happy with their Shadow Work technique on flowers and monograms Jenny showed the group the first embellishment to their work. This was how to create and sew eyelets. Every design had possibilities for eyelets. Then some people started to do the stems of their flowers. 
The group then learnt how to attach a wide ribbon with a feather design. They were reminded by Jenny’s demonstrations how to attach using feather stitch, pin stitch and thorn stitch. Then it was time for lunch.

In the afternoon Jenny demonstrated further embellishments like how to attach a bobbin paper, sequins and stamps. The group were shown every process that they would need and the beautifully illustrated instruction books will be very useful. It was a wonderful day! 

Here is the link to Jenny’s website:  www.jennyadin-christieembroidery.co.uk

Report and photos Jane S
​Thank you Jane, Ros

Silk Papers Workshop – Val Toombes – May 2019


We started the day with Val Toombes explaining the 4 undyed silks in our packs – mulberry which was white, tussah not as white as mulberry, gum silk, and throw silk which was curly, soft, and shiny.  We made silk sheets by thinly placing the 4 silk layers between 2 layers of bridal net, then wetted with water and after that textile medium.  This was put to dry.


W​e then used a variety of dyed silks placed again between 2 layers of bridal net, wetted as above the put to dry.  Some very interesting and colourful designs were achieved!

In the afternoon we blew up a balloon and after coating it with textile medium we made bowls by placing silks in layers across and around it resembling bad hair day wigs!  We then took these home to dry and pop.
An enjoyable day for everyone!

Report by Diana K and photos by Jackie B

Thank you both for sharing your day with everyone.

Judy Joiner – January workshop


On her table Judy showed us many variations of the “covered box”.  So many sizes, shapes, functions and colours.  She set the bar high and certainly gave us all so much to strive for.

Judy gave us lots of instruction (collective and individual) and encouragement and slowly box construction progressed.  Some boxes were almost complete by the close of play.
It was a thoroughly informative and enjoyable day.  Well done and thank you Judy.
Report and photos by Linda W

​Thank you Linda, Ros.

Jennifer Hughes – Workshop

We were offered a wonderful selection of Thai Ikat silk, cottons and hemp to use for our Thai bags.  To start the workshop Jennifer explained the technique of reverse applique, gave us a detailed handout and suggested various designs we could consider for our bags.
Although we were using the same technique, each person had chosen their own design and different coloured materials so it was interesting to see the varied results.
Jennifer also showed us how to create braids and different types of prairie points to decorate our bags.
To end the day Jennifer showed us how to finish our bag with a lining and how to attach the braids.

Jennifer was a most generous and patient teacher and we thank you for a most enjoyable day.

Report and photos by Ros

Kathleen Murphy – “Thread Salad” workshop

As I love hand stitching I was particularly looking forward to this workshop with Kathleen.

She started by showing us work from four different textile artists who used hand stitching.  One was well known to us, Emily Jo Gibbs but the other three were new names – Magdalena Godowa, Kimika Hara and Natasza Niedziolka.  Below you will see details of their websites.

Before us on the table Kathleen had displayed various fruit and vegetables which she had cut open to show their insides and we were asked to choose one.  The challenge was then to replicate the fruit either adding appliqued materials or just hand stitch.  Below you will see the amazing results. 
Kathleen has another interesting sideline which she told us about briefly at the end of the day.  She makes truly amazing little people under the name of Murgatroyd & Bean.  I know my grandchildren would adore to hear the tales and to see these people so I do hope she publishes the stories one day.
 Thank you to Kathleen and her friend for a most enjoyable day.

​Report & photos by Ros